Book Solutions


June 25, 2011 by Leah

Apparently my family members are not the only book people I know – all my friends seem to be devotees of the written word, as well. You all left great comments, feedback, and ideas for solving the book dilemma I wrote about yesterday. Said dilemma pretty much boiled down to: I need a way to maximize my consumption of written and audiobooks for the least amount of money and bandwidth.

Since that post, my friend Allison’s awesome mom went through her audiobook collection and is sending me four books on CD: three I haven’t read, including Orson Welles reading Les Miserables, and one classic – A Tale of Two Cities – I’m excited to revisit.

Aaron and I also discovered there actually is a really cool used bookstore just up the road. It’s called Once Read Books. I bought seven paperbacks for $12 (no romances, sadly), found a Carl Hiassen audiobook for $3.95, and, my favorite, three of James Herriot’s books (All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Wise and Wonderful, and All Things Bright and Beautiful) on CD for $30. The delightful memoirs of a country vet in Yorkshire three generations ago sound like better vacation listening than a mediocre-at-best magical romance series. Also, they might be the kind of thing our as-yet-unconceived children will like to listen to a few years down the road. (Don’t worry, their father will make sure they are introduced to rap and heavy metal as well.)

While importing all my new spoils from the bookstore trip into iTunes, I also started looking into It’s an audiobook subscription service that’s running a special right now where you can get the first three months membership for $8 per month, after which the rate goes back up to $15 per month. There are no contracts or anything – it seems kind of like Netflix, but for audiobooks. I’m really liking this idea, but I think I will wait to try it until we move and can get cable internet again, instead of being limited to 5G per month by our wireless modem.

I’m also intrigued by the idea of podcasts, which are apparently available on as well as for download on iTunes and in other random internet places. I’ve never really gotten into the podcast thing, and I have no idea why. Possibly because there is just so much out there. My current limitation is bandwidth, but if that wasn’t a problem, I would be stocking up on free podcasts of American Public Media shows like The Splendid Table and A Prairie Home Companion. I might even be shelling out the $1.99 per episode of This American Life. Maybe an afternoon at Starbucks (free wifi) is in order soon.

I am now also seriously thinking about a Kindle (my friends with e-readers seem to like that device best out of its competitors). It looks like the newer ones have 3G wireless or connect to wifi hotspots, so I could download books without impacting our limited bandwidth. I love the idea of subscribing to magazines on the Kindle – I have far too many back issues of The New Yorker sitting around our house. I don’t love the idea of me spending lots of money in order to be able to buy books at the touch of a button, though. Instant gratification can be expensive. But perhaps a Kindle would help save trees. But I’m already constantly exposed to electromagnetic fields, do I really need to add one more? Hmm.

Finally, in general book news, I ran across this article in The Guardian about the advent of a new format of printed book, called the flipbook. I can’t tell if it looks cool or gimmicky. I definitely like the idea of not having to flap my elbows into my neighbors’ midsections every time I need to turn a page, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to adjust after a lifetime of reading, well, normal books. Perhaps I’ll get the chance to take one for a test drive one of these days.


3 thoughts on “Book Solutions

  1. Ronale says:

    I subscribe to the New Yorker on my Kindle and love not having all those magazines cluttering up my life. I also subscribe to This American Life podcast for free, but I did send a donation last week. My Kindle has the “whispernet” that downloads my books, etc. I can buy books any time. Some of the old classics are pretty cheap and there are free book, too.

  2. kim_f says:

    Ooooh. I have been wondering why This American Life has not been downloading for me, along with my other podcasts, the last month or so. I had just assumed they weren’t producing any new shows at the moment, but I think you’ve solved the mystery for me. They’ve switched to a paid version. While I am slightly flummoxed by this, I’m not entirely surprised… most of their podcasts as of late started and ended with Ira asking listeners to donate. Unless I can start more regularly listening on the weekends, I’ll probably be willing to pay the $1.99. It’s definitely amongst my favorite shows.

    I’ve only recently discovered The Splendid Table myself, but I love it! And lots of other podcasts for that matter too. I’m definitely addicted.

    I somehow missed your last post… but if you’d like some more audio books, I have several that I got off audible that I’d be willing to burn and send you! Both of Jon Stewart’s books are HILARIOUS as audio books! I’m currently not paying the monthly audible subscription just because I can’t justify it financially right now. But I have off and on at several points (first got roped in using that same deal you mention) and, for the most part was really happy with it.

    I’m torn about the Kindle. Yes, it would save trees IF I’m buying only new books. But I so rarely buy books new. Usually, I buy them used. In which case, I feel like the Kindle is a much bigger suck of not just my money, but also of resources. Plus, it means I wouldn’t be spending my money at local, independent retailers anymore either. The one really compelling reason I see for it though, is travel.

  3. Marla says:

    you can stream off iTunes as well. my favorite is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

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